Updated: 06/16/2017

Students Need Travel Cards Too - Here are the Options!

Student travel credit cards

College life is a transition for young adults just out of high school and trying to find their way in the world, including their own world of finance. With added stress and a new-found independence, many students find choosing a credit card to be an extra burden. However, this actually one of the best times for students to begin learning about financial security and establishing credit.  

A credit card can be a convenient tool for a student to have in college, but it is important to choose the best one for your needs. For students who travel, this could mean choosing a card that awards purchases and can be used for award flights and hotel stays. It could also mean choosing a card with no foreign transaction fees, especially if you frequently travel abroad.

The right credit card can make your life easier in college and help you have one less problem to stress about in between classes. If you are considering a travel credit card and you are in college, here are a few of the best options available.

Best Student Travel Credit Cards with No Credit

Cards below are credit card created specifically for college students - it can be your first credit card, you do not need to have a credit history, no credit is ok, you need only to be over 21 and have an independent income source to qualify, or get a co-signer onboard.

 

intro purchase APR no intro offerregular APR20.49 - 20.49% (V)
intro BT APR 20.49 no BT fee
rewards 1-1.25% 
  • get 1% cash back on al purchases
fair credit / no credit required

no annual fee

student card

up to 1.25% cash back

read review

The Journey Student Rewards card from Capital One awards 1% cash back on all your purchases. There is no annual fee or foreign transaction fee. Plus, you can earn a 0.25% cash reward each month you pay on time. Although this isn’t specifically a travel credit card, it’s a good card to carry if you are a student and you travel abroad because there is no foreign transaction fee.

 

intro purchase APR 0% for 12 monthsregular APR15.49 - 23.49% (V)
intro BT APR 15.49-23.49 3% min $10
rewards 1.5 points/$1 +20,000 intro points
  • earn 1.5 points for every $1 in purchases
  • get 20,000 points after spending $1000 in the first 3 months
  • redeem points for travel as a statement credit towards travel expenses

 

no credit required

no annual fee

1.5 points/$1

+20,000 points bonus

read review

The BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students awards students 1.5 points for each dollar you spend with the card. You can redeem your points toward a wide variety of travel purchases such as airfare, hotels, and even baggage fees. As a new cardholder, you can earn a bonus of 20,000 points, if you spend $1,000 with the card in the first 90 days, which can be worth $200 in travel. There is no annual fee and no foreign transaction fee with this card.

 

intro purchase APR 0% for 12 monthsregular APR13.49 - 23.49% (V)
intro BT APR 13.49-23.49 3% min $5 fee
rewards 1-2 points/$1 +15000 bonus points
  • get 1500 bonus points after spending $1000 in the first 3 months
  • earn 2x points on dining out and entertainment

 

no credit required

no annual fee

no credit needed for students

up to 2x points and 15000 bonus

read review

The Citi ThankYou Preferred for College Students awards 2X points on dining out and entertainment purchases and 1X point on all other purchases. New cardholders can earn a bonus of 2,500 points, worth $25, if you spend $500 within the first 3 months of opening the account. There is no annual fee.

 

intro purchase APR 0% for 6 monthsregular APR13.49 - 22.49% (V)
intro BT APR 10.99% for 6 months 3% BT fee
rewards 1 or 5% 
  • earn 5% cashback on rotating quarterly categories 
  • 1% cashback on all purchases
  • double cashback for first year
  • $20 cashback annual  bonus if your GPA is 3.0 or greater

 

no credit required

no annual fee

no credit needed

5% cashback on changing categories

double first year cashback

read review

The Discover it for Students card has no annual fee or foreign transaction fee. This card awards 5% cash back in quarterly categories and 1% cash back on all other purchases. Discover will also match the cash back earned in the first year.

Best General Purpose Travel Credit Cards

The best cards for students aren’t always the ones that are specially designated for people in college. Sometimes, you could find that the best travel card isn’t a college student card. Depending on your credit score, you could qualify for one of the following instead. These cards require some positive credit history and not all of them allow co-signer if your income is not stable enough to qualify.

 

intro purchase APR 0% for 14 monthsregular APR11.49 - 23.49% (V)
intro BT APR 10.99% for 14 months 3% BT fee
rewards 1.5 miles/1$ 
  • earn unlimited miles at 1.5% rate on every purchase

 

good credit required

no annual fee

unlimited 1.5 miles per dollar

redeem for any travel or cash

read review

Unlike many travel credit cards, the Discover it Miles Travel Credit Card has no annual fee or foreign transaction fee. Its benefits include the ability to earn 1.5 miles for each dollar you spend, including on purchases such as plane travel, hotels, and restaurants — you can even earn miles when you use your card to buy groceries at the store. Plus, at the end of your first year, Discover will match the miles you earned, giving you double the miles.

In addition, Discover has a mobile app, which is convenient for students and lets you check your FICO credit score or protect yourself if you lose your card.  

 

intro purchase APR 0% for 12 monthsregular APR15.49 - 23.49% (V)
intro BT APR 15.24-23.24% 3% min $10
rewards 1.5 points/$1 +20,000 intro bonus
  • earn 1.5 points for every $1 on all purchases
  • get 20,000 signup bonus after spending $1000 in the first 3 months
  • redeem points as a statement credit to offset your travel spending balance 
excellent required

no annual fee

1.5% rewards rate on all purchases

20,000 intro bonus

read review

The BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card awards 1.5 points for every dollar you spend with the card. There is also no annual fee for the card. However, instead of miles, with Bank of America you receive points, which allow you to gain non-travel rewards as well. New cardholders who make $1,000 in purchases during the first three months receive 20,000 extra points that you can redeem for a statement credit worth $200. There are also other rewards you can claim as a cardmember, plus the card comes with mobile and online options so you can access your money, bills, and credit from anywhere. You can even receive text alerts for due dates and information about your account should you need it.

 

intro purchase APR no intro offerregular APR8.99 - 17.99% (V)
intro BT APR 4.99% for 12 Months 8.99%-17.99%
rewards +$100 statement credit 

no annual fee

no BT fee

read review

As another travel credit card with no annual fee, PenFed will offer you points for spending money on gas, groceries, and other purchases. Paying for car fuel at the pump can give you 5x points, while you can receive 3x points for money spent at the grocery store and 1x for the rest of your expenses. Because college students typically spend money at the gas station and the supermarket, you can build up your points quickly with this card. PenFed has 24-hour customer service and no foreign transaction fees. New cardholders can earn a bonus of $100 statement credit if you spend $1,500 with your card within the first 90 days. There is no annual fee for this card.

 

intro purchase APR no intro offerregular APR16.24%, 20.24% or 24.24% Variable
intro BT APR 0% for 12 months 3% BT fee $5 min
rewards 2x miles on travel and dining, 1x miles on all other purchases, 20,000 sign up bonus
excellent / good credit required

Earn 20,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days — that's enough to redeem for a $200 travel statement credit

Earn 2X miles on travel & dining and 1X miles on all other purchases

Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem

Chip card technology, so paying for your purchases is more secure at chip-card terminals in the U.S. and abroad

No foreign transaction fees on anything you buy while in another country

0% introductory APR for 12 months for each Balance Transfer made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable APR will apply, currently 16.24%, 20.24% or 24.24%, depending on your creditworthiness

Complimentary online FICO® Credit Score access for Barclaycard Arrival cardmembers

read review

The Barclaycard Arrival Card World Elite Mastercard waives your fee for the first year after you start using it, but afterward charges you $89 annually. However, you earn miles toward travel with every purchase you make, which is helpful if you are a student who has a long trip home each year. With liability protection, chip technology, online FICO score access, and other benefits, this card could be worth the extra money. In addition, every time you redeem your miles, you get 5% of your miles back to go toward your next travel purchase.  

Finding the right credit card as a student can be a challenge, especially without the experience and credit of older card holders. However, many travel cards, including these, have benefits that can be helpful if you have a long way to travel to school or if you have grocery and gas expenses. Any of these travel credit cards could be a starting point that will help you pull through your college career with less stress and more time to focus on your education while building a positive financial future.

 



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